Johnston’s family is biggest supporter
By Kyle Inman
September 20, 2011
Senior Tahler Johnston has many supporters that have taken note of her play on the volleyball court, but her biggest support system will always be her family. “My whole family is very supportive," Johnston said. "They travel to all my games and they have had the biggest impact on my life, and they will always have the biggest impact." Johnston leans on her father, Bernie, to help her with volleyball technique and skill and her mother, Melanie, for emotional support. If she needs someone to vent to, her mother has always been there to pick her up. “My parents are great people," Johnston said. "Even when my mother was diagnosed with cancer last year and was going through chemotherapy, she still traveled to every game.” Johnston's mother finished chemotherapy on June 2 and is now cancer-free. She is also extremely close with her older sister, Taryn, who was a volleyball player, too. “I love my big sister. We talk almost every day,” Johnston said. “If she can't make it to my games, she is always watching the live stats.” So far this season, Johnston is not only leading the team in kills with 102 after nine matches, but she is playing the role of team leader inside the locker room. “Tahler has stepped up her leadership this year on her own,” Coach Cory Frederick said. “When you have players that take on that leadership role internally, it makes you much more successful overall.” Johnston wrote her team a letter before the first conference game of the year against Fort Hays State featuring motivational quotes to pump them up. She also provides ribbons for the team to wear, carrying on a tradition from high school. “We wear yellow on our right side because that is our team color, and that's our dominant side, so that's what it stands for,” Johnston said. Johnston is from Marshalltown, Iowa and lists upsetting third ranked Ames in high school to go to the state tournament as her greatest sports accomplishment. “We were the underdog and nobody expected us to win. We went five games, and the fifth game went to 22-20,” Johnston said. “The last time the team made it to state was four years earlier when my sister played there.” Johnston spent two years at Indian Hills Community College before becoming a Griffon. The first year was different for her because the coach had a policy that freshman couldn't compete for a position until after half way through the season. Johnston's second season was much more successful. There was a coaching change and her position was changed from middle to outside, a position where she thrives today. Johnston has nothing but positive things to say about her time at Western so far. “The girls here are awesome. Some of my closest friends have been from the team,” Johnston said. “I have always struggled with school and never really liked it, but I enjoy the school here. I recommend this school to a lot of people.” Johnston finished second on the team in 2010 with 271 kills. She scored a career best 22.5 points against conference opponent Pittsburg State. This season is still young, but she has continued her outstanding play, making the UNK Fall Classic all-tournament team. Johnston plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in business management and work in the human resources field.